About This Place
The poet Longfellow named Cincinnati the “Queen of the West” in honor of its Catawba wineries and rolling green hills overlooking the Ohio River. Today the city’s regal downtown skyline frames the northern bank, just across the water from the grand riverboats and antebellum mansions of Kentucky. A Midwestern commercial hub since the 19th century, Cincinnati encompasses colorful, historic neighborhoods, a vibrant cultural arts scene and two major sport stadiums on the revitalized downtown waterfront. Visitors can study Gainsborough paintings at the Taft Museum, catch a Reds game at the Great American Ball Park or savor famous Cincinnati chili served over hot spaghetti.
A visit to Cincinnati would not be complete without a stroll along the Bicentennial Commons, a walking path skirting the Ohio River. On the downtown waterfront, Freedom Way connects the Red’s Great American Ball Park with Paul Brown Stadium, home to the Bengals professional football team. Walking along Freedom Way, history buffs can stop at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, a museum focusing on slavery in the United States.
Fountain Square marks the center of downtown with a towering bronze and granite fountain sculpted as a water goddess. City goers unwind here over coffee, attend free concerts or enjoy meals at fine restaurants. Luxury stores such as Tiffany & Co. and Brooks Brothers line the west side of the square. Just north, on Sixth Street in the Backstage District, visitors can discover the renowned Contemporary Arts Center, the first art museum in the U.S. designed by a woman, U.K.-based Zaha Hadid.
In 1848, a large German community settled north of downtown in a Cincinnati neighborhood nicknamed “Over-the-Rhine.” The historic district features the greatest collection of 19th-century Italianate architecture in the nation. Trendy restaurants, boutiques, coffee houses, galleries and breweries dot north Main Street, rapidly forming the hippest area in the city. Across from Washington Park on Elm Street, concert fans attend Music Hall, a red-brick Venetian Gothic building, home to the Cincinnati Opera and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. A 10-minute stroll north leads to Findlay Market, the oldest open-air market in Ohio, founded in 1852. Merchants sell everything from locally grown produce to blackberry jam and homemade fudge.
One of the top Cincinnati attractions is also located on the northern edge of the city. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens—with more than 3,000 plant species and 500 animal species—is the second-oldest zoo in the country. Animal lovers can wander the 75-acre property and observe exotic white lions, elephants and polar bears or enjoy the children’s zoo.
East of Downtown, verdant Eden Park surrounds Mount Adams, an exclusive Cincinnati neighborhood on a quiet hilltop. Shops and bars line the curving cobblestone streets amid sweeping views of the Ohio River and the city skyline. Mount Adams is also home to the renowned Cincinnati Art Museum, a popular Cincinnati attraction featuring paintings by John Singer Sargent, Picasso and Andy Warhol. In Eden Park, Mirror Lake reflects a gazebo, and oak groves overlook the Kentucky hills and Ohio River.